Water is becoming scarce resource day by day making it essential to upkeep our water resources/ infrastructure in best possible condition. Realising importance of the dams our first prime minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru called them as “Modern Temples of India”. Dams, being a major infrastructure component of water resources, play a vital role in providing overall water security to the country. Over the last fifty years, India has invested substantially in dams and related infrastructures, and ranks third after USA and China in the number of large dams. 5254 large dams are in operation in the country currently and another 447 are under construction (As per NRLD) . In addition to this, there are thousands of medium and small dams. Still, as the population is growing at a steady pace, water security of the country is becoming an issue of concern for all. It has been noted over a period of time that water is in the center stage of disputes between various State Governments. Besides playing a major role in the development of the country especially in providing food and energy security, concerns have been raised about the safety of these wheels of the development.
It becomes our prime responsibility to ensure safety of these dams to allay any kind of apprehension from the mind of the people. While the safety of lives and property of people in vicinity of dams is of paramount importance, Dam safety assurance is also important for protection of investment and its intended benefit as also water security of country at large.
Dam, here means, any structure constructed across the river/ stream to impound or divert water. It includes appurtenant structures such as spillways, outlets, water conductor structures, hydromechanical equipments, energy dissipaters, river training works and related structures integral to dam, reservoir or its rim. It generally does NOT include the canals, aquaducts and related water conveyance structures or flood embankments, dykes etc which are not related ti any thing across the river/ stream. Dams with a height of 15 m or more from deepest foundation to the top of dam are considered large dams. The dams with height 10m to 15m with a capacity of reservoir associated with it more than 1 mcm or spillway crest more than 500m or maximum flood discharge more than 2000 cumecs or having special foundation problems or unusual design are also considered large dams.